Race, Ethnicity and Police Deployment

September 11, 2019
1:00pm - 2:00pm

Chicago is one of the most diverse cities in the country and, in spite of this, remains among the nation’s most segregated.   Serving the community poses some unique challenges for the Chicago Police Department. There are constant demands to address crime and disorder- made more complicated by a strong group of elected aldermen, that jealously guard how city services are delivered in their wards.

In 2011, the Illinois ACLU sued the city arguing that “Chicago officials have failed to ensure that police are deployed equitably across the City’s many diverse neighborhoods, resulting in delayed police responses to emergency calls in neighborhoods with higher minority populations.” Moreover, they suggested that “Neighborhoods with significant ethnic minority populations in Chicago are more likely to have slower response rates to emergency calls and higher rates of serious violent crimes, as compared to predominately white neighborhoods.” As a part of that litigation, a county judge ordered that a staffing study be conducted.

This presentation describes that analysis. We employed a workload-based staffing analysis for the Chicago Police Department Bureau of Patrol. Our discussion will describe our analytical strategy, data, and results. In addition, we discuss how understanding deployment in a large multi-layer police agency makes it difficult to identify “winners and losers.”


PRESENTER: Dr. Alexander Weiss (Ph.D., Northwestern University) has over forty years’ experience as a public safety practitioner, researcher, trainer, and consultant. For nine years he was the director of the Northwestern University Center for Public Safety and Professor of Management and Strategy at the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern. He currently is an adjunct professor of criminal justice at Michigan State University and president of Alexander Weiss Consulting.

Prior to his appointment at Northwestern, Alex was a member of the faculty of the department of criminal justice at Indiana University, Bloomington. During that time, he also served as a senior advisor to the Indianapolis Police Department. Dr. Weiss has twelve years of experience with law enforcement agencies in Colorado. During his tenure with the Colorado Springs Police Department, he served as a field supervisor and directed the then newly created operations analysis unit.